The Netgear/Roku Partnership, Bringing the Roku to a Store Near You

Logitech, Netgear, and D-link; these are names that usually conjure images of webcams, routers, network switches, and perhaps a few other peripherals, but that is about to change with product offerings meant not for your PC and the recesses of your basement but for your living room. Netflix was once a company focused on competing with the likes of video rental chains with a disc-in-the-mail movie service. With some of the large video store chains bankrupt, Netflix announced that they have officially become a streaming company, and it is estimated that Netflix accounts for as much as twenty percent of all downstream internet traffic during peak hours here in the United States.

However, there is far more content on the web than what Netflix offers. With the rise of Hulu and other video sites, more and more content becomes available online and it can be consumed for far less—if not completely free—than what is offered by cable and satellite companies. What's more, the user has complete control over what is on. There is one problem with this new glut of content: getting all of it into the living room without having to browse countless webpages.

That was the key to the success of a PC application called Boxee, which compiled many of the different internet streaming media sources into one application with a (reasonably) easy to use UI. The only real hang-up was the PC itself required for such applications. Many consumers balk at the idea of purchasing a computer purely for media streaming/HTPC use, with cost and aesthetics being common complaints.

So, that is where the old network/peripheral companies and their large distribution networks come into play. Boxee chose to partner with D-link in the creation of the stand-alone Boxee Box that should be available any time now. Logitech has paired up with the newly release Google TV to bring you the Logitech Revue experience. The personal computing titans have given us their own takes, Apple with the Apple TV while Microsoft elected to build those features into its Xbox 360 console.

And what of Netgear? They have teamed with Roku, a company that produced media streaming boxes once only available over the internet, but now they're showing up at Best Buy, Fry's, etc. with Netgear rebranding. Today we'll look at the Roku XD, which is the middle tier of the three Roku offerings. Below is a list of the different boxes and their features, straight off the Roku website.

What You Get with the Roku XD
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  • SilthDraeth - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    I wasn't aware that Logitech specialized in routers and switches.
  • taltamir - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    me neither... :P
    I wonder if they meant to write linksys instead of logitech. But linksys isn't involved in any of that AFAIK, and logitech is involved with google tv.
  • sviola - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    "and it's in a completely different league from the Revue ($299), Boxee ($199) and Xbox ($199, $299). Those others offer keyboards and elegant UIs but not much additional streaming content over the Roku."

    Sort of unfair to compare the Xbox this way. Maybe it doesn't provide much additional contet streaming, but it is a far more complete solution as it can play dvds and games (and if you add the PS3 in the equation, blu-ray), as well as run espn.
  • sviola - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    damn fast typing and no edit option....where contet is read, the correct is content
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Of course, also worth note is that it's not fair to compare these media streamers with the Xbox. The Roku sucks down all of 6W under load and idles at 3W; an Xbox 360 (the latest generation) still idles at 70W! And if you've got an original Xbox 360 (and it never died from the RROD!), you'd be at twice that... about as much as a good old Pentium D system.
  • nafhan - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Don't forget the Xbox Live requirement. A year of Xbox Live at full price costs almost as much as the bottom of the line Roku.
  • nafhan - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Before someone calls me a hater... I've got an Xbox and Live, and I'm pretty happy with it. However if I wasn't in to gaming, I'd definitely pick up a Roku.
  • Thermogenic - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    I bought a Roku XD for this very reason - just slightly more than an XBox Live account, and streams Netflix just as well.
  • OneArmedScissorB - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Thank you for checking the power use and bringing that up. There are so many devices people have plugged into their TVs blowing large amounts of electricity 24/7, and it's nice to know that it really shouldn't work that way.
  • ajlueke - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    That is up for debate I suppose. The Xbox is similar in price to the Boxee box and Revue, but plays games and DVDs and functions as a media center extender as opposed to hosting less streaming content. Which then is more "complete" is defined by the user. But it is a streamign solution provided by microsoft, so i thought it fair to included it.

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